A to Z Challenge: Heroism

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When the world needed heroes, it looked to the skies, expecting a caped figure to swoop down and save the day. People came to depend on the masked mystery men and women that roamed the streets at night, keeping watch over neighborhoods and entire cities. Some didn’t trust them, viewing them as vigilantes or free agents who operated outside the bounds of the law. Others saw them as a necessity, as a means to reach where even the long arm of the law couldn’t.

Hector believed in heroes. He always had. From a young age, he had been raised in the shadow of heroism. His grandfather had fought in World War II, his father was a police officer and his uncle had done tours in Iraq. He was familiar with their stories, their sacrifices and their scars. To him being a hero wasn’t about powers or unnatural abilities. It was about taking a stand when no one else would, about fighting even when you knew you would lose.

When news reports had first started coming in about the new breed of ‘heroes’ in the world, Hector couldn’t believe it. People like his grandfather and his father had put their lives on the line fighting for what they believed in. He remembered the time there was a particularly vicious serial killer on the loose and his mother had spent many fitful nights lying awake, wondering if her husband would come home safe and be with her at sunrise. He remembered the pride he felt whenever he saw his father’s badge or his grandfather’s medals. All that was swept under the rug as soon as these ‘heroes’ came to be.

But they weren’t heroes. Not to Hector. They were just freaks in bright costumes, playing pretend while looking down on the city. The real heroes were on the ground, sweating and bleeding to do the right thing. It was an insult.

Hector couldn’t stand idly by while these glory hounds corrupted the concept of heroism. He had to make things right. So he did.

He planned out a series of small-scale crimes, the sort that would be beneath the attention of the freaks, but would give the real heroes an opportunity to do what they did best. Bank robberies. Minor felonies. Arson. Even murder, though he mainly restricted himself to derelicts and junkies.

The world didn’t need saviors. It only needed people that were willing to do good. Hector would help those people find their purpose. He would shine a light on the real heroes, even if it meant shrouding himself in darkness.

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